In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Strategic Alliances

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks, Handbooks, and Book Series
  • Journals
  • Alliance Development Process
  • Future Directions in Alliance Research

Management Strategic Alliances
T.K. Das
  • LAST REVIEWED: 18 February 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 February 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0157


Strategic alliances have proliferated apace in recent decades, reflecting their distinct potential for aiding business and other organizations to compete better in an increasingly complex world. Briefly, strategic alliances are voluntary agreements between two or more organizations to cooperatively pursue their mutual strategic objectives. In business, where these alliances continue to flourish, the partner firms remain independent entities even as they may be actual or potential competitors. The goal is to improve their respective competitive performance and to create value by bringing together the distinctive resources and capabilities of separate firms. At the same time, it must be appreciated that the management of alliances connotes certain special complexities that are not present in managing single organizations, and carries with it certain distinctive risks. The formation, operation, and outcome stages of alliance development, as well as the interpartner dynamics concerning cooperation, resources, trust, risk, control, and so on, are unique in many ways. Strategic alliances also tend to take a variety of forms, so it is necessary to be clear about the nature of these entities. They cover the gamut from buyer-supplier arrangements, joint R&D, manufacturing, and marketing, to joint ventures that could be cross-border, public-private, multipartner, etc., with each type having different issues of governance and interpartner management.

Textbooks, Handbooks, and Book Series

As a relatively young and developing field of study, strategic alliances does not yet have an accepted template for a traditional textbook, but there are a growing number and variety of offerings that together provide an excellent coverage of the subject. Child, et al. 2005 remains a useful textbook. The collection of readings in Bleeke and Ernst 1993 provides a distinctly practitioner-oriented view of alliances and their management, while the handbook Shenkar and Reuer 2006 contains chapters reviewing various alliance topics. The academic research papers in Contractor and Lorange 2002, developed from a conference of alliance scholars, remains a valuable source of knowledge in the field. Finally, the book series Das 2010–, in which each volume covers a specialized topic or theme, is currently the only such series in the alliance field and provides researchers an outlet for more extended treatments than allowed in traditional journal articles.

  • Bleeke, Joel, and David Ernst, eds. Collaborating to Compete: Using Strategic Alliances and Acquisitions in the Global Marketplace. New York: Wiley, 1993.

    This edited volume gives a broad view of the practical issues in designing strategic alliances by a group of international management consultants, making the general case for collaboration among firms in their quest for greater competitiveness in the increasingly interconnected business world.

  • Child, John, David Faulkner, and Stephen Tallman. Cooperative Strategy: Managing Alliances, Networks, and Joint Ventures. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199266241.001.0001

    This textbook, one of relatively few, comprehensively covers both the theoretical literature and case studies on cooperative strategy. A widely cited primer that continues to be useful to both academics and practitioners.

  • Contractor, Farok, and Peter Lorange, eds. Cooperative Strategies and Alliances. Oxford: Elsevier Science, 2002.

    A comprehensive collection of thirty-six chapters by sixty-five academics in the field of alliances, arising out of papers presented at a conference organized by Rutgers University and IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, that constitutes at once an excellent review of alliance research and a chart for future research directions.

  • Das, T. K., ed. Research in Strategic Alliances. Charlotte, NC: Information Age, 2010–.

    The only book series exclusively dedicated to strategic alliance research, comprising thematic volumes on developments in the field. Broad topics covered in the fourteen volumes published so far include emerging research perspectives, alliances in a globalizing world, behavioral perspectives, value creation, management dynamics, managing knowledge, interpartner dynamics, managing public-private strategic alliances, innovation and R&D, multipartner alliances, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development, governance issues, alliance portfolios and networks, and managing trust.

  • Shenkar, Oded, and Jeffrey J. Reuer, eds. Handbook of Strategic Alliances. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2006.

    An edited volume of twenty-three chapters by invited scholars and practitioners on key topics in the alliance field; this handbook places some welcome emphasis on the management issues along the life cycle of alliances.

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